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Kingsoft Office 2013: The best free Microsoft Office alternative?

For over a year now I've championed Kingsoft Office Free 2012 as one of the top Microsoft Office alternatives for Windows, and with good reason: It's one of the best-looking clones out there, with superb file-compatibility to boot.

Yesterday, Kingsoft unveiled Office Free 2013 (Windows). (Please see below before you install it.) I'll go out on a limb and say it's now the single best free replacement for Microsoft Office, for a couple of very good reasons.

In case you're unfamiliar with it, Kingsoft Office includes three modules: Writer, Spreadsheets, and Presentations. Needless to say, … Read more

Office 2013 to be bundled with smaller Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft will be offering a free version of Office in the smaller versions of tablets running its operating system, a new report claims.

According to The Verge, which quoted Windows CFO Tami Reller at Computex on Wednesday, Microsoft will allow vendors to bundle Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote into 7- and 8-inch tablets running Windows 8. Outlook 2013 will not be bundled with the device, despite the fact that Windows RT 8.1, the latest version of that software, will come with Outlook RT.

Like other tablet makers, Microsoft is trying to make a push for the smaller side of … Read more

Microsoft touts 1M subscribers for Office 365 Home Premium

Microsoft has reached the 1 million subscriber mark with its Office 365 Home Premium product, company officials said on May 29.

The company launched Office 365 Home Premium on January 29. For $100 per year, Office 365 Home Premium allows users to install Office client apps on up to five PCs and/or Macs in total. Users who subscribe rather than buy the single-use Office 2013 complement outright, also are supposed to receive regular feature updates and synchronization capabilities by signing in through Office.com.

Microsoft is trying to convince more users to subscribe to its software as if it … Read more

Microsoft's 256GB Surface Pro tablet to land in Japan on June 7

A 256GB version of Microsoft's Surface Pro will be available to Japanese consumers, starting June 7.

Microsoft's Japanese Surface Web site already lists the tablet with the 256GB version selling for 119,800 yen ($1,171) and the 128GB version going for 99,800 yen ($975). The 256GB edition will make its debut in Japan, while the 64GB model apparently won't be sold in the country at all.

Both versions come with Windows 8 Pro and Office Home and Business 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook). The Surface Pro tablet will also treat Japanese buyers to … Read more

Review: mOffice - Outlook sync is a solid non-Google planner

If you're looking for a solid, non-Google planner, you've found it in mOffice. It has a smooth layout and most of the features you love about Google--all in a neat package.

This app is designed to sync with your Outlook desktop program. It will also sync with a client called Mobisynapse, but that costs an extra $10. This app falls under the "Getting Things Done" category, which seems to mean it's optimized to make work convenient. As such, mOffice has a very clean interface that makes it easy to find the features and menus you'… Read more

Review: OpenOffice Document Reader lets you scan, but not edit

OpenOffice Document Reader lets you view all sorts of Office documents without paying one red cent. It won't work for everyone and is loaded down with ads, but it's still near the top as far as Office readers go.

OpenOffice Document Reader is just a reader app, so you won't be able to edit any of the files it works with. OpenOffice Document Reader displays text and HTML just fine. If it doesn't work with your file, it briefly displays it on a cloud server so you can read it. The reader slides animated ads into … Read more

Amazon proposes a colossal biospherelike Seattle campus

The latest fad for tech companies' new office buildings seems to involve making them as far-out and avant-garde as possible. And Amazon is the newest firm to jump on that train.

The e-commerce giant and gadget maker unveiled a slew of new drawings (PDF) on Tuesday that reveal a series of colossal, mirrored, biospherelike domes alongside a taller rectangular building that could be its new campus. The designs were created by architecture firm NBBJ and also include a copious amount of green space and landscaping.

The intent behind the design, according to the project proposal (PDF), is to "create an alternative environment" where "employees can work and socialize in a more natural, parklike setting."

"The generative idea is that a plant-rich environment has many positive qualities that are not often found in a typical office setting," the proposal says. "While the form of the building will be visually reminiscent of a greenhouse or conservatory, plant material will be selected for its ability to co-exist in a microclimate that also suits people." … Read more

Microsoft touts Office 365 buyers that dumped Google Apps

There are a lot of businesses that pay for office suites, but two days before the Google I/O show, Microsoft spotlighted three that picked its Office 365 after trying Google Apps.

Google got a head start with Google Apps, the online service that includes Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. But Microsoft has a massive customer base using its old-school Office products who are natural candidates for moving to Microsoft's online suite.

Three customers -- Sensia Halsovard, Sepco III, and Arysta LifeScience -- all picked Office 365 "after having deployed or piloted Google Apps," Microsoft touted Monday. … Read more

Pete Rose, Rob Schneider mock Google for Microsoft Office

Microsoft enlisted former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Rob Schneider and disgraced baseball star Pete Rose to denigrate Google Docs in two new videos that posted to the Web Friday.

The videos posted on Microsoft's Office 365 blog suggest that users gamble every time they trust their productivity to Google Docs.

Of course, it's a time-tested strategy for Microsoft, which rolled out its Gmail Man videos two years ago, broadsiding Google's email service for its contextual advertising program.

In one of the new videos, two buddies hit a casino. One asks if they should play … Read more

Office 2011 update includes more Office 365 features

The latest update to Microsoft Office addresses a number of critical bugs with the program and offers new integration with Office 365, Microsoft's next-generation Office suite for both the Mac and Windows platforms. The update is available either through the Office 2011 AutoUpdate utility, or from the updater's Web page as a 113MB download that will bring the latest version of Office to 14.3.4.

If you have not yet installed any updates for Office 2011, this update requires that you have Service Pack 1 installed, so some people may see two consecutive updates for Office available … Read more